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368 Days Later.

And it’s done! What a week. 363 – 368! Ithaca to NYC.

It’s been odd, this week more than most, knowing that it’s coming to an end in the coming days. There were moments of About time! excited, and moments of Maybe just one more loop? apprehension. The biking’s been good. Nothing has gone wrong and closing in on the end goal provided an easy way of falling into that dreamed-of zone where cycling becomes effortless. That’s not to say there weren’t crazy climbs, because there was (looking at you Pennsylvania), but with the momentum of a year coming to an end they weren’t enough to cause any delays.

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Being in gung-ho mode, necessary to make the end in time, there’s been a lot of saddle time. That’s often lead to nights in the farmland of NY, PA and NJ states, riding at night on the empty roads. It was surprising how remote it can be considering how close it is to the biggest city in the US. One of those nights lead, by coincidence, to a roadside invitation to crash at a lakeside cottage where Marianna and Elizabeth, two Buddhists, were staying. They were awesome, insisted on making some amazing food, and it was an amazing place to chill out when most moments recently had been a bit of a head-spin.

A few days of cycling later, and it was the final day. So close to being done. So close that something was bound to happen. ‘Course it was. I got sloppy and stumbled onto the highway. In parts of North America you’re allowed on the highway, in others you’re not. In New York you’re not. It was a blast – flying down the shoulder, knowing that this was the fastest route, seeing the New York skyline for the first time and realising it was so close.

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Oops. The police weren’t happy. Fortunately the officer was hilarious and other than an insistence to get off at the next exit, he wasn’t all that fussed. 90 minutes later I rolled into New York via George Washington Bridge and met my folks. It was like an ultra high definition skype call and amazing to see their faces after so long. And it was the end. 

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If you’re reading at this point, thank you! The emails and blog comments in the tough parts were a massive motivator, it played a huge role in seeing the trip through to the end. So thank you. And to everyone who donated or helped with a place to crash along the way or agreed to be featured in this project – I’m still blown away by how awesome you all were.

So that’s it. So much has happened that it’s a flurry, but it’s clear this was something special. The one-more-loop-thought has faded (for now) and it’s exciting to think about what happens next. Hopefully you’ll stick around as the blog will now get pretty fun – snippets of unpublished interview, retrospective articles, footage of getting blasted by sprinklers at 3am – but that’ll all start in a couple of weeks – for now I’m off to catch up on a years worth of half-sleep and wonder around the city until the flight home. And if anyone knows where to get the best slice of pizza here do just shout. Because pizza’s great. Thanks!

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Vague Direction: A 12,000 mile bicycle ride, and the meaning of life.
Available now: Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com



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36 comments on this post

  1. Tomas says:

    Congrats and welcome home !
    Maybe you should bring a kayak on the next loop :-)

  2. krysha says:

    Amazing, well done, congratulations. You will ponder on this trip for years to come. Hope you get back to Vancouver at some point and if so, don’t fail to contact us..
    Krysha

  3. Deborah says:

    Thank you for sharing the ups, downs, happy, sad, mad, etc moments with us all. Cycling is an amazing adventure regardless of how far you travel. I hope you’ll send some wrap up comments as you mentioned. Safe travels home and may your next journey bring even more amazing people across your path. Best Regards

  4. MN Dave says:

    Congratulations! What an accomplishment. Best wishes for all your dreams going forward!

  5. Jim says:

    Congratulations and thank you for sharing your adventure! You’ve been an inspiration in many ways. I wish you success (however you decide to define that) in your future endeavors.

  6. Doug says:

    Congrats Dave. It has been a joy watching and following you on this epic adventure. Sorry we were never able to connect in Seattle, but it was what was supposed to happen, for some reason or another. Look forward to reading you “after blog” and seeing all the things that are between the lines.

    Best wishes

    Doug.

    • Dave says:

      Hey Doug, thank you for sticking around since the early days of this trip! Shame we couldn’t connect in person but I appreciate your comments etc along the way – more to come soon!

  7. Jonathan Stevens says:

    Spectacular achievement, Dave! Well done on completing a truly epic ride! You”re welcome anytime here on the West Coast, so let us know if you’re coming out to the Bay Area again before 2015 (hopefully NOT by bike this time!!) . All the best, Jonathan, Karen and Rose

    • Dave says:

      Thanks Jonathan – I’ll always remember the awesome meal with you guys and your hospitality, generosity and support along the way. Yeah next time in the Bay Area will probably be a more direct route I imagine ;) Hope to see you then, have fun in the sun!

  8. Bill Maylone says:

    Being the Buddhist that I am (although you’ve probably figured that out) (emptiness) loved those prayer flags set against the lake.
    Looked forward to following Vague Direction in the future. Can’t believe it’s over with.
    Bill

    • Dave says:

      It was an amazing setting to spend a few hours during the final leg. Thanks for all the thought-provoking comments along the way Bill. More to come!

  9. Sarah says:

    CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! As my husband and I will be following a part of your journey, “The Southern Tier” in a couple of weeks…you have been inspirational and a joy to follow. And…I have biked long distance before…re-entering the “real” world can take some time….good luck. I look forward to future posts.
    Sarah

    • Dave says:

      Hey Sarah, Good luck on the Southern Tier (email me if you’re after an ACA Southern Tier map – you’re more than welcome to use mine). Yep I understand exactly what you mean about re-entering the real world – it’s taking some adjustment!

  10. Jake Brodie-Stedman says:

    Well done Dave, what a great achievement! Hopefully we can catch up soon.

    Jake

  11. Sulwen says:

    Hey Dave, I have enjoyed your posts so much, and been inspired by your journey, your reflections, and what amazing people there are ‘out there’. Long live vague direction, and the adventures that will continue to come your way. Sulwenx

  12. Steve Grice says:

    Davey!
    As per my email…Congratulations on your remarkable achievement!
    After I clicked send on my email, I noticed your last day had been from Ithaca to NYC….and I was reminded of this poem…and it reminds me that whatever I may choose to view as a discrete journey, THE journey continues!

    http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/ithaca/

    See you soon I hope,
    Best love Steve

  13. Boab says:

    Bloody brilliant mate!! well done…what an amazing ride…it’s been a blast following the updates….inspiring :))

    • Dave says:

      Thanks man, and thanks for sticking around since the beginning! At the bottom of every massive hill I had your comment in the back of my head, something like ‘one day you’ll realise that you’ve done the biggest hill and all the rest will feel small’. Can’t pinpoint the exact hill mind, but your comment definitely acted as fuel!

  14. Ken Rowan says:

    Dave,

    Thanks for the trip, I looked forward to every post and felt inspired and uplifted with each one. I especially loved the interviews and the experiences people shared on the way. It gave me hope and faith in the kindness and friendliness of people for the future, something I’ve been unsure of lately. I wish you all the best with your future and look forward to the developing blog.

    “Awra ‘best awra ‘time!”

    • Dave says:

      Thanks Ken – that’s very kind of you to say. I’m glad you got hope from the friendliness of the people along the way – it’s true!

  15. Peter Gold says:

    Well done Dave, look forward to the book/film.

  16. Mike Cross says:

    Great ending, Dave ; meeting your mom & dad.
    Thanks for allowing us to be a tiny part of it.

    • Dave says:

      Thanks Mike (and Heather)! You were both a big part of it – one of the highlights in the last month and a shining example of awesome!

  17. Dave says:

    Cheers PP – currently tackling the mountain of road-generated content so there’ll be more!

  18. Vicki Galea says:

    I just realised I hadn’t received any of your emails for a while. I usually read several blogs at a time, and have been caught up in life lately. I guess you are right back into the old life again. hope that is going well for you. Must be quite strange, having to deal with people each day and not the lovely solitude cycling alone offers. Good luck and thanks fr the regular updates.

    • Dave says:

      Hi Vicki!

      Yep it was a little odd at first, adjusting back to ‘normality’, but the appeal of travel and adventures hasn’t lessened so I doubt it’ll be long til a new trip!

      Thanks for following along,
      Dave

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